ABCDs of Tuition Reimbursement

December 22, 2014

Carl Jones works at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., but he wants to be an astronaut.

What will his employer think?

Actually, Jones' employer not only supports his lofty ambitions, but pays for Jones to follow his star. Ball fully reimburses Jones' school expenses as he studies for a master's of science in aerospace engineering, with a focus in bioastronautics.

"They just take small amounts out of your paycheck for a number of pay periods that you designate," Jones says. "You go through the class, and once the class is finished, you have to have earned a B or better in the class in order to qualify for reimbursement."

After the necessary paperwork is filed, Ball places the refund directly into Jones's bank account.

"Since my company is basically paying for my education, it takes the financial stress off of me and allows me to further my education and my skills," Jones says.

"I get a great engineering education and a really good school that I don't have to pay for. My company gets a more seasoned employee who will stay longer. I want to give back, once my education finishes."

Many people think only big companies offer tuition-reimbursement plans, but smaller businesses also get staff into school.

While this benefit can enhance your career -- and earnings -- it's important to know the rules of tuition plans before you request reimbursement from your employer.

Many employer-sponsored programs come with strings attached. Your employer's human resources, or HR, department can provide information the tuition-reimbursement program in your workplace.

As you weigh this option, it's important to request clarification on the following topics. Think of them as the ABCDs of tuition reimbursement:

  1. 'A' is for amounts
  2. 'B' is for B grade or better
  3. 'C' is for contractual obligations
  4. 'D' is for degrees covered

View this article by Bankrate for full details and more information on the ABCDs of tuition reimbursement.

Northwood University Partnership:
The Michigan Chamber has partnered with Northwood University to help educate future business leaders on Michigan’s business climate. This two-fold partnership offers a $1,000 scholarship for eligible Northwood University students and a free student membership to all enrolled Northwood students. View the Northwood University Partnership webpage for more information.